You’ll see and hear it everywhere in France on 17 November: “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!” But what to serve with it? Tuck into these suggestions
Only the French could come up with a name for a meal which is between an apéro and a sit-down dinner: l’apéritif dinatoire. The Beaujolais Nouveau celebrations are usually accompanied by French finger food and platters of charcuterie that include traditional terrines, smoked hams, saucisson and boudin blanc served with apple purée.
Most sommeliers agree that a creamy, soft cheese goes well with a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau. Don’t choose anything too strong, because the wine itself is so young and fruity. A young, firm Comté is a possibility, but the best options would be a Brillat-Savarin, a Saint-Marcellin, or a fresh goat’s cheese. Give guests a choice with a well-stocked cheese platter served with seasonal fruit and nuts.
The gastronomic capital of France lies on the edge of the Beaujolais wine-producing area, so it’s only natural to enjoy the city’s specialities with the new vintage. Try quenelles – soft fish and bread dumplings – and hearty dishes from Lyon’s traditional bouchon restaurants: bavette steak, cheese raclette, game stews or roasted red meats. For something lighter, go for Cervelle de Canut, a dip made from cream cheese, herbs and shallots. Some people simply enjoy sipping Beaujolais Nouveau with hot roasted chestnuts.
Beaujolais Nouveau has many uses in the kitchen, including bread-making: it turns the dough slightly purple for an added wow factor. Poach a lyonnaise sausage in the wine or make a fondue vigneronne, where it replaces hot oil as a way of cooking the meat. End a meal on a sweet note with pears poached in Beaujolais Nouveau.